Months of lockdowns have made many of us take a long look at our surroundings … and tackle the clutter in our homes. So what do we do with all of our unwanted stuff? Journalist Angellica Bell has been on a mission to find out.
For many of us, a charity store is the first port of call when we have a clearout. For each month charity shops were closed during the lockdown, the charities they support lost £ 28million so they have to make up for lost time. Angellica meets the team at the British Heart Foundation charity shop in Kingston-upon-Thames who tell her she has received an incredible response since the stores reopened – a record day. They want us all to keep giving!
But other charities fighting for space have had to limit what they get. The Wood Street Mission in Manchester accepts donations for children living in poverty, mainly clothing, toys, bedding and toiletries. They usually accept deposits from the public, but at the moment they don’t have any storage space, so they send a van to collect the pre-arranged donations. Unfortunately, what they report is not always of acceptable quality:
If the charity has to get rid of dirty or broken items, it ends up having to pay, at a cost of £ 1.20 per bag.
Hear an RSPCA animal rescue center tell you which junk items they can use:
When it comes to gadgets and home appliances, we throw 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste every year in the UK. Angellica has a toaster that has stopped working – she doesn’t want to get rid of it if she can help it. So can she fix it? She gathers a list of 10 local appliance repair shops and starts ringing. The first tells him that they no longer repair household toasters because there is no point in it – all the parts are riveted together as a single block. He says companies are doing this to keep prices low. It’s a similar story in other places she tries … none of the stores will repair small household items like this. An activist tells Angellica that he is far from surprised:
When you’re done with your cleaning, you might be ready to do the biggest spring cleaning in your history, of course! But the array of cleaning products available means they can become even more of a throwaway plastic bottle… and with the chemicals some of them contain, there are questions about their environmental friendliness. Bake Off winner Nancy Birtwhistle recently turned away from store-bought cleaning products and started making her own, from ingredients like white vinegar and essential oils. And she says she hasn’t looked back …
Nancy All Purpose Household Cleaner Recipe:150 ml of water60 ml of white vinegar40 ml of surgical alcohol20 drops of essential oil
Put the ingredients in a 300ml glass spray bottle, shake it well and it’s ready to use. You can try it on mirrors, tiles, basins and work surfaces.
Note: You should undertake a patch test to ensure suitability and follow all relevant manufacturers or suppliers guidelines. Handle materials with care. Use only under adult supervision. All necessary precautions must be taken.
ITV tonight ‘Keep, Chuck or Clean: The Big Clearout ‘is on ITV at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday, May 27.